“In the childhood form, wearing nice jewelry and clothing, He plays in the dirt and His limbs become full of dust. With child-like speech, Rama plays with all the brothers and children.” (Dohavali, 117)
बाल बिभू।सन बसन बर धूरि धूसरित अंग |
बालकेलि रघुबर करत बाल बन्धु सब सन्ग ||
bāla bibhū।sana basana bara dhūri dhūsarita aṃga |
bālakeli raghubara karata bāla bandhu saba sanga ||
If we sit down and truly contemplate the subject, a rational person would have to conclude that God is beyond their thinking ability. In every category of classification, the Almighty is greater than the greatest.
That person who just won the track and field competition to be declared, “Fastest Man in the World”? God could easily outrun them. That group of astronauts that made it into outer space, after the lengthy time in training and the significant resources invested in the travelling vessel? The Almighty could take a single leap and reach the moon if He wanted to.
This explains why a single image depicting an incident from Bhagavad-gita is well-known to followers of the Vedic tradition. It is the virata-rupa, which roughly translates to “universal-form.” The story begins as a conversation between charioteer and warrior. The relationship then transitions to guru and disciple. Soon enough, the disciple learns the true identity of the teacher, that He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Arjuna asks for the visual evidence, though He already has sufficient faith. He requests Krishna to show the virata-rupa so that future generations consulting the recorded transcript of the conversation will not have doubts.
मन्यसे यदि तच् छक्यं
मया द्रष्टुम् इति प्रभो
योगेश्वर ततो मे त्वं
manyase yadi tac chakyaṁ
mayā draṣṭum iti prabho
yogeśvara tato me tvaṁ
“If You think that I am able to behold Your cosmic form, O my Lord, O master of all mystic power, then kindly show me that universal self.” (Arjuna, Bhagavad-gita, 11.4)
Arjuna sees everything within a single image. Both three-dimensional and with a time element, Krishna reveals something which is awe-inspiring to the less intelligent, but rather insignificant to those who know Him well.
This universal form does put a person in a bind. After searching for, finding, and understanding the origin of everything, to an extent, they wish to serve. They want to do something for Him, as they are thankful for everything He has done for them.
“Please let me serve you. You are the greatest. You have been my friend for so long, but I kept ignoring you. Now things have changed. I don’t want to help anyone else first. You are my top priority.”
One option is to purchase nice clothes for someone we care about. They may not need it. They may be content with what they have, but they still appreciate the gesture. They feel happy wearing the gifted items, as there is a connection in affection.
How will a person dress the Supreme Lord? He is the entire universe and more. The virata-rupa image is only displayed to the extent that a person can understand. Infinite time and space are beyond our comprehension. There is always a beginning to a beginning and an end to an end. Reach the limits of space and know that there is more to go.
Since He is compassion personified, God facilitates such desires in pure devotion. One example is the childhood period of Shri Rama in the city of Ayodhya. Goswami Tulsidas describes that even though Rama plays in the dirt with the other children in the community, the parents dress Him nicely. Rama wears the best ornaments and always beams an effulgence that is unique to Him.
When placed on His transcendental body, the ornaments benefit instead of the other way around. They increase in value, as well as the parents through their devotion. This fact alone proves the Divinity of Rama, who is beloved to this day.
I should not be depressed at the awesome nature of the Supreme Lord. Just because He is larger than the largest does not mean He will keep me out of my preferred outpouring of affection. If I want to cook for Him, I can do so on a daily basis. The deity is real, authorized through the instructions of the guru, who follows parampara. If the devotion is strong and the person most qualified, they can even receive God as a dependent, as was the case with Mother Kausalya.
With those ornaments resplendent,
To Kausalya a dependent.
Shri Rama under her care,
Of Divinity not aware.
Since devotion so strong,
Received that for which longed.
Because Supreme Lord kindest so,
Many ways His glories to know.
Categories: dohavali 81-120